Reaching out to Boomers

Published 10:36 am Saturday, June 19, 2010

Boom Boom BOOM. Do you hear it?

That’s the sound of the Boomers — they’re here and in a big way. One of every three adults over 21 is a baby boomer, and every day 10,000 more of them turn 50 or older.

Some 78 million strong Boomers are a powerhouse of decision makers. They are America’s largest, wealthiest and most influential generation, spending $2.3 trillion annually. A generation that businesses want to make sure they are paying close attention to.

Traditional marketing methods won’t work with this group, so don’t make the mistake of lumping Boomers into one group. This is not a one-size-fits-all generation.

Boomers come in all shapes, sizes, and, most importantly, life styles. One 55-year-old Boomer may be the parents of children in grade school or preschool while the neighbor has children in college and no children at home. Another neighbor is retired with no children and busy traveling the world.

To give you an idea of how Boomers break out, 88 percent of them have married, 41 percent of those have since divorced. Some 12 percent never married, which is double the percentage of previous generations; 83 percent have children, but 34 percent are now empty nesters, and 37 percent of the Boomer parents are also grandparents. Half of all grandparents today are Boomers — just think of those marketing implications.

One thing Boomers have in common is they don’t think of themselves as “old” and will ignore any sales or marketing message targeting the old. “Old Age” is something Boomers see far off into the future — if at all — perhaps happening when they reach their mid-70s. Although as they approach 70 that may change to the mid-80s.

So, how do you reach the Boomer?

Market to their stage in life, not their age, and treat them as individuals. Raised as part of the largest generation cohort in history, Boomers have long strived for ways to protect and cherish their individuality. That underlying desire means they are less likely to respond to claims using words “everybody” or “everyone.” Being a Boomer myself, that makes sense to me.

Use emotionally compelling concepts, words and images. Be sure your message is positive though; Boomers won’t respond to negativity. Don’t shout doom and gloom; you’ll get much better results telling them why using your product or service will bring positive results.

And always remember to take age out of the equation. Boomers are looking forward and not back. They are active, full of life and living it to the fullest.

In 2010 Boomers — those 45 to 64 year olds and the plus segment of the market — are more active than ever. They love to spend time with their family, travel and really enjoy living. Their size will increase by 70 percent through the year 2020. It certainly makes you wonder why, when you see active senior or senior-related publications, they don’t showcase what the Boomer is all about — Living.

Exactly the reason we, in partnership with our sister media companies in Suffolk and Ahoskie, have joined together to launch Virginia-Carolina Boomers. It’s a magazine that will showcase today’s active adult — from finance to leisure to business to adventure to medical issues.

Virginia-Carolina Boomers will publish twice a year and span a territory in one of the largest older adult segmented markets in our region. Thirty thousand copies will be distributed from Western Tidewater to Hampton Roads and into northern North Carolina.

Virginia-Carolina Boomers will certainly be a hit among those whose wisdom has come with age and whose buying power is second to none.

Boom Boom BOOM — are you ready?